ODESSA, Texas: After playing a spring season where they had to play at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, the UTPB Falcons will play their first game at Ratliff Stadium in two years Saturday.
It may be worth the wait, as the athletic department is expecting a big crowd.
“It’s exciting to be back at Ratliff, it’s exciting to be playing in Odessa in front of our fans and the response we’re getting right now is tremendous,” associate athletic director for external communications Richard Acosta said. “I think we’re going to have a really good showing on Saturday.”
Even for a team that went undefeated in the spring season, having fans back at the UTPB games could give them even more of a push in a big conference game against West Texas A&M.
“I think the fans provide the atmosphere. The product on the field goes with the players that are out there, but the fans provide it with being a memorable game,” head coach Justin Carrigan said. “Some of the best games I was a part of as a player and as a coach were with a rowdy crowd.”
The athletic department also believes the event is an opportunity to bring the community together. They plan to let every student from a local ISD or junior college in for free when they show their student ID.
Being their first responder appreciation game, they will also be letting first responders in for free.
“If you don’t have your hand on a ticket and you want to come into the game, you come to my ticket booth and say you’re a first responder, the only response is going to be ‘how many tickets do you need?'” Acosta said.
With the community’s support, it could just propel the Falcons to extend their 7-game winning streak.
“This town loves a winner, you know that and I know that,” Acosta said. “They love winning and a big part of winning is the support we get from the community.”
The Falcons will host West Texas A&M at 6:00 p.m. Saturday.